In 2017 and 2018, Louisiana experienced a 40% increase in pedestrian fatalities. In order to address this dramatic spike in fatalities, the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission is working to educate motorists on how to drive around pedestrians, and how pedestrians can safely cross our roadways. The featured videos were produced with funding from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission.

No matter where you live, pedestrian safety is an important concern. Walking is a great way to get exercise and enjoy time outdoors. Unfortunately, it also makes you the most vulnerable user of the road. On average, a pedestrian is killed every 88 minutes in traffic accidents.

Whether you’re a concerned resident, a parent or a caregiver, you want to do everything you can to make sure you, your loved ones and your neighbors can walk carefree in your community. Pedestrian safety is a two-way street: Both drivers and walkers need to do their part to keep roads safe. The tips below will help you and your family stay out of harm’s way.

Walking Safety Tips

  • Be predictable. Follow the rules of the road and obey signs and signals.
  • Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from traffic as possible.
  • Stay alert at all times; don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes (and ears) off the road.
  • Whenever possible, cross streets at crosswalks or intersections, where drivers expect pedestrians. Look for cars in all directions, including those turning left or right.
  • If a crosswalk or intersection is not available, locate a well-lit area where you have the best view of traffic. Wait for a gap in traffic that allows enough time to cross safely; continue watching for traffic as you cross.
  • Never assume a driver sees you. Make eye contact with drivers as they approach to make sure you are seen.
  • Be visible at all times. Wear bright clothing during the day and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.
  • Watch for cars entering or exiting driveways or backing up in parking lots.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs when walking; they impair your abilities and your judgment.

Driving Safety Tips

  • Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Safety is a shared responsibility.
  • Use extra caution when driving in hard-to-see conditions, such as nighttime or bad weather.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop when turning or otherwise entering a crosswalk.
  • Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and stop well back from the crosswalk to give other vehicles an opportunity to see the crossing pedestrians so they can stop too.
  • Never pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk. There may be people crossing that you can’t see.
  • Never drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Follow the speed limit, especially around people on the street.
  • Follow slower speed limits in school zones and in neighborhoods where children are present.
  • Be extra cautious when backing up—pedestrians can move into your path.

Statistics and tips via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Videos produced by New Orleans Regional Planning Commission and Louisiana Highway Safety Commission

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